London-based duo, Ferris & Sylvester, about to make further waves.
Release Date: 2nd October 2020
Label: LAB Records
Formats: CD, download
Ferris & Sylvester are making some pretty significant waves. Already lauded by such luminaries as Bob Harris, who premiered the title track from this new collection on his BBC Radio 2 Country Show, they’ve also been praised widely in the music press. In early 2020, were awarded the Emerging Artist Award at the UK Americana Awards.
The duo are Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester, and their sound is American West, via South London and takes in touches of folk, blues, pop, psychedelia and, at least on Good Man, one of the tracks on this excellent EP, Eastern influences. They switch interestingly and effectively between up-close intimacy and in-your-face riffing and, on the evidence of I Should Be On A Train, their growing reputation is well-justified.
As noted above, the EP’s title track has already received airplay and is available as a download single or on limited edition 12-inch vinyl. It’s a song that grows from its intimate beginnings into a full-blown power ballad with some nice guitar flourishes and lyrics that articulate the confusion of someone seeking, but for lack of courage failing, to end a relationship. The second track, Knock You Down has a 60s feel to it. Indeed, the intro wouldn’t be out of place on a Donovan album. The song, once again, builds nicely into a riff-heavy chorus which implores the listener “not to let the system knock you down.”
Everyone is Home, a contemplation of the loneliness of COVID isolation, is probably my favourite track on the EP. Again, it’s a song that has already had a degree of exposure and, whilst it starts by lamenting the isolation from a loved one, it does convey a message of hope as the refrain switches from “everyone is lonely, everyone is scared” to “everyone is lonely, everyone is brave” and makes the observation that “we learned what it is to be human again.” Powerful and reassuring messages in these confused times!
On Good Man, the duo get solidly electric, particularly during the chorus, which builds on a strong, insistent riff. The song also incorporates an eastern feel – Indian, or is it Arabian? – in a way that recalls Richard Thompson. The closing track is an enchanting version of With a Little Help From My Friends. Ferris and Sylvester’s version leans more towards the Joe Cocker interpretation than towards The Beatles’ original, but essentially the sound and emphasis is all their own. Issy, in particular, takes the opportunity to give her vocal chords a good workout and the overall effect is admirable, fresh, and utterly enjoyable.
Ferris and Sylvester’s last recorded output, the 2018 EP, Made in Streatham, made a lasting impression. It even managed to hit the number one spot on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart. There’s something stronger than a mere impression that suggests that this new offering is also destined for big things.
Watch the official video for I Should Be On A Train, the title track from the album here: